There’s mixed emotions about our new ‘WFH’ status. While some of us are great self-starters and motivators, making the best of a zero-commute existence, cashing in on those extra hours and quite excited about this new-look 9-5; some of us are taking a little longer to adjust, are feeling uncharacteristically sluggish, isolated and a little bit lost, even.
Whichever camp you’re in, even if that changes on a day-to-day basis, here are some top tips to making it work for you.
Whatever type of space you live in and/or with whom, it’s imperative to carve yourself out a little corner or space to work in. Laying on the floor/sofa/bed is not conducive to productivity, nor will it do your posture any favours.
Whether you’ve got a spare room, or you’ll be working on the edge of the dining table/kitchen counter, make sure you’re sitting correctly.
Your screen should be set up on a surface straight ahead of you, alleviated slightly with a stand or books to avoid any over-stretching or shoulder destroying slouching. Your chair should be firm, sturdy and provide adequate back support. Remember the advice a diligent office manager once bestowed upon you, and if you don’t check out the NHS’ advice to setting up desk.
Ensure you have the right amount of light, natural light will energise while early birds / night owls should look at handy lamps, to avoid squinting in the dark.
A tidy desk and workspace will help you focus on the task at hand and prevent unnecessary distractions. Dedicate a drawer or a box you can slip all of your bits and bob away – the unsightly paperwork, 22 charger cables – and pack everything away at night to reclaim your living space and to help you start fresh the next day.
If you do have some spare cash, why not take this opportunity to invest in some forever pieces that will bring you joy every time you sit at them. We’re swooning over Forest London and OOW Furniture’s Mid-Century desk game. While the and the artful notebooks and prints at Material Gallery add the perfect final touches.
If you’re on the hunt for a place with a home office set up, here’s where Get Living can help. Get in touch to find out what homes have spare rooms ready for you to create your own inspiring WFH space – just like this. Call 020 3811 0714 or email email@example.com.
Clothes from Mango. Keep the spirit of sustainability alive and check out Depop and Ebay for second-hand gems.
Whatever your work ‘uniform’ used to look like, WFH allows us to loosen our belts – quite literally – and let comfort be king. This doesn’t mean that we should stay in our beloved PJs/age old trackers all day. It’s scientifically proven that humans thrive on routine and that ‘getting dressed’ can not only titillate and delight but donning a ‘work’ outfit is the first step to get ourselves into a work frame of mind – and feel more positive.
Whatever working hours you’ve set yourself, get up/showered/make a delicious coffee and choose your armour. A good pair of jeans (needn’t be restrictively tight) or a pair of this seasons laidback tailored trousers/cargo pants/ winter cords (delete as approp.) will instantly make you feel more put together. Choose tonal knitwear or a silky-shirt that’s super-soft on your skin and feels luxurious (and comforting). And if you need a PMU choose something vibrant. Dress with intention, for self-esteem. It’s the first step to taking control of your day.
If you usually wear make-up, put a little on – a bright face (see tan drops – they’re the bomb) and an accessory – think a statement earring / headband / pair of fabulous spectacles – will help you feel set for daily zoom calls.
Stay stylish, stay in control, stay sane.
You’ve got your desk space all set, you’re dressed the part, now it’s time to get cracking.
WFH (and of course if your business allows) means you can cash in on your own personal energy levels and complete your work hours when you’re at your optimum. We all work better at different times of day. Be realistic about your strengths and cash in on them. Early birds – catch your worms and night owls, make hay when the sun…errr…sets. Either way, it is imperative to set yourself a realistic schedule and stick to it.
If you live with people, make an agreement that you don’t disturb each other during your dedicated working times. If need be, wear noise cancelling headphones to lock out the new sounds of flatmates/family/neighbours. If you’re all sitting at the same table as said co-habitants avoid small talk – readjourn with each other over lunch.
Allow yourself regular screen breaks and don’t be tempted to stick on the TV for ‘just 2 minutes’ while the kettle boils. And don’t allow people to just ‘pop-in whenever’ because you’re at home. This will just interrupt your workflow and make projects stretch out which can just create a sense of anxiety.
Plan in your social time around your work hours as you would if you were in the office. Stay social! And stay active. If you’ve had 8-hours sleep/you didn’t drink last night but you’re feeling unbelievably tired – ask yourself, why? If you haven’t left the house all day and things are feeling overwhelming and you just can’t focus, wrap up warm and go for a march around the block (go on – be brave) or get down and give yourself 20 (push ups/sit ups) – or put on your favourite song really loud and just, you know, dance (go on).
Physically moving your body will have an energising effect on your body and in turn a positive effect on your mind. So even when dark, wet winter is beating down hard on the window pane, don’t allow yourself to talk yourself out of staying active – with so many IRL and online workouts available there’s no excuse. Factor something (or a few of these) into your week.
Make sure the house is stocked with healthy, nourishing snacks and lunch options so you don’t have to ‘pop out’ and spend too long mindlessly ogling Twiglets and Tangtastics in the supermarket aisles. Why not make a vat of comforting ‘everything in the fridge soup’ on a cosy Sunday – delicious, and it won’t have you slumped / tweezing-out advent calendar chocolates come mid-afternoon.
And lastly, we’re borrowing the motivational words from Bryan Robinson pHd, Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist and author of a multitude of self-improvement books says:
‘Keep your attitude in check. Above all, be creative and don’t let your confined circumstances dwarf your tranquility, happiness or productivity. Your greatest power is your perspective. It can victimize you or empower you. When you look for the upside in a downside situation and figure out what you can control and what you can’t, it’s easier to accept whatever is beyond your control.’ WORD!
Go get ‘em, tigers. And remember BE KIND to yourself, we’re only human, some days are going to be better than others. Be realistic, make sure you are staying in contact with people and make sure you’re factoring in some time in your schedule for you. Facial and massage anyone? Netflix and chill?
Ellen Manterfield, 33, architect, E20
“Comfort is key. Suffering from back issues the first thing I invested in when lockdown hit was a zero- gravity chair from Robert Dyas – worth every penny! I also make a conscious effort to leave work in one room/space. Keeping a “work space” and a “home space” has been key for me mentally to switch off.”
Sally Norman, 26, interior designer, M5
“Make sure the environment is right for you. Personally, I like to work facing the window, with a candle on and a good album/the radio. I make sure I give myself a proper lunch break and use this time to do anything but work! This is normally where I’ll ring my mum or catch up on Instagram. This should help you come back to the afternoons work with a fresh mind and more motivation. And never underestimate the power of fresh air. Even if it is just a 15 minute walk along the canal/to the local park, having a breather helps to reset.”